Sabbath, September 17, 2005
“For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” Amos 9:9.
• To understand that in order to possess a pure people, God puts His chosen ones under test and sifts them.
• To consider that the believers are to learn patience by enduring the shaking
SIFTING OF THE CHURCH
1. What process are God’s people to go through and for which purposes?
Malachi 3:3, 4 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
“In this scripture is portrayed a refining, purifying process, to be carried on in the hearts of men by the Lord of hosts. The process is most trying to the soul, but it is only by this means that the dross can be removed. Of necessity we must endure trials; for through these we are brought close to our heavenly Father, in obedience to His will, that we may render to Him an offering in righteousness …
“The Master sees wherein we need to be purified for His heavenly kingdom. He will not leave us in the furnace until we are wholly consumed. As a refiner and purifier of silver, He is beholding His children, watching the process of purification, until He shall discern His image reflected in us. … The furnace is to purify and refine, but not to consume and destroy. God in His providence would try us, to purify us as the sons of Levi, that we may offer to Him an offering in righteousness.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, pp. 1181, 1182.
2. Considering God’s final purpose for His church, what prophecy will be fulfilled in the future?
Ephesians 5:26, 27 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
“ ‘God is sifting His people. He will have a clean and holy church…We all have reason to thank God that a way has been opened to save the church; for the wrath of God must have come upon us if these corrupt pretenders had remained with us.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 99.
“The Lord will have a people as true as steel, and with faith as firm as the granite rock. They are to be His witnesses in the world, His instrumentalities to do a special, a glorious work in the day of His preparation.” –Testimony Treasures, vol. 1, p. 590.
SOME KINDS OF SHAKING
3. How was it prophesied that there would be a great shaking among God’s people by means of the truth? Find examples from the past history.
Revelation 3:18, 20 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
“I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people.” –Early Writings, p. 270.
4. Explain about the different types of shakings that will happen among God’s people.
Hosea 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.
“There is chaff among us, and this is why we are so weak.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 288.
“The people of God will be tested and proved. A close and searching work must go on among Sabbathkeepers. Like ancient Israel, how soon we forget God and His wondrous works, and rebel against Him. Some look to the world and desire to follow its fashions and participate in its pleasure, just as the children of Israel looked back to Egypt and lusted for the good things which they had enjoyed there, and which God chose to withhold from them to prove them and thereby test their fidelity to Him.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 287, 288.
OTHER KINDS OF SHAKINGS
5. What kind of people will be shaken out?
Hebrews 2:1, 3 (first part) Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 3. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…
“The great sifting time is just before us. The jealous and the faultfinding, who are watching for evil, will be shaken out.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 251.
“Also the lives of those who professed to be His followers, who had this world’s goods, but considered it so great a thing to help the cause of salvation. The angel said, ‘Can such enter heavens?’ Another angel answered, ‘No, never, never, never. Those who are not interested in the cause of God on earth can never sing the song of redeeming love above.’” –Early Writings, p. 50.
“Whatever may be the ecstasies of religious feeling, Jesus cannot abide in the heart that disregards the divine law. God will honor those only who honor Him.‘To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey.’ If we indulge anger, lust, covetousness, hatred, selfishness, or any other sin, we become servants of sin.” –Messages to Young People, p. 114.
6. How thoroughly will God sift them?
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
“The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church.
“True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 81.
“We are in the shaking time, the time when everything that can be shaken will be shaken. The Lord will not excuse those who know the truth if they do not in word and deed obey His commands.” –Testimony Treasures, vol. 2, p. 547.
7. What complete reformation is required from the remnant people? What does the vision shown in the dream of Sister White mean?
Deuteronomy 26:16 This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
“Men of clear understanding are needed now. God calls upon those who are willing to be controlled by the Holy Spirit to lead out in a work of thorough reformation.” –Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 400.
“As we progressed, the path still continued to grow narrow…“As the path grew more narrow, we decided that we could no longer go with safety on horseback, and we left the horses and went on foot, in single fi le, one following in the footsteps of another. At this point small cords were let down from the top of the pure white wall; these we eagerly grasped, to aid us in keeping our balance upon the path. As we traveled, the cord moved along with us. The path finally became so narrow that we concluded that we could travel more safely without our shoes, so we slipped them from our feet and went on some distance without them. Soon it was decided that we could travel more safely without our stockings; these were removed, and we journeyed on with bare feet.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 594, 595.
8. What blessings will God bestow upon the church when the reformation is completed?
Joel 2:23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
“The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. To the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 54, 55.
“The third angel’s message is swelling into a loud cry, and you must not feel at liberty to neglect the present duty, and still entertain the idea that at some future time you will be the recipients of great blessing, when without any effort on your part a wonderful revival will take place…Today you are to have your vessel purified that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord–fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” –The Review and Herald, March 22, 1892.
FOR OUR THOUGHTS
• Name the reasons why God is sifting the church and the people. What will be the result?
• Discuss how God cleans His people and what it means for the church to bruise the head of Satan.
• Practically examine the various ways of shaking and consider what situation you consider yourself in this light.
• Why is the progress of thorough reformation necessary and, as a result, how will the church be blessed? What should every individual do to receive the blessing?